Spotlight on Gale Cengage digital primary sources

On Tuesday 30th January we’ll be holding a Discovery Day event in the Main Library where representatives from 3 publishers of digitised primary source collections and our very own Centre for Research Collections will be on hand to help you navigate through and find useful material in the huge range of primary sources you have access to at the Library. Gale Cengage are one of the publishers who will be attending and this blog post highlights the fantastic collections the Library has access to through them.

The Library has access to a large and broad range of primary source collections that can be accessed via the Primary Source database list or the separate Newspapers & Magazines list and Images & Moving Images list.

The Library is very lucky to have access to 12 of these types of databases from Gale Cengage, a leader in education, learning, and research resources online. This actually gives you access to around 300 collections of primary source material. Gale’s digital collections span 500 years of history and a wide breadth of topics, including politics, society, business and leisure.

Below are the databases you have access to via Gale Cengage. Note that the newspaper databases should be accessed via the Newspapers & Magazines database list while the other databases listed can be accessed via the Primary Source database list.

Did you know you can cross-search all but one (exception is State Papers Online) of the below databases via Gale Primary Sources? This can be a really good way to start your search if you’re not sure what you are looking for or if you haven’t used online digitised primary source databases before. Their newspaper collections can also be cross-searched via Gale’s NewsVault.

17th and 18th Century Burney Collection Newspapers

This database represents the largest single collection of 17th and 18th century English news media available from the British Library and includes more than 1,000 pamphlets, proclamations, newsbooks and newspapers from the period. This collection helps researchers chart the development of the newspaper as we now know it, beginning with irregularly published transcriptions of Parliamentary debates and proclamations to coffee house newsbooks, finally arriving at newspaper in its current form.

19th Century UK Periodicals (parts 1 and 2)

This database covers the events, lives, values and themes that shaped the 19th century world. It provides an invaluable fully-searchable facsimile resource for the study of British life in the 19th century – from art to business, and from children to politics. Few of the materials in this extensive online collection have ever been reissued, in any format since original publication. All the original colour work has been specially captured for this programme.

Archives Unbound

Screenshot of ‘1098929-000 — HQ-157-387 — Section 12’ from Freedom Riders Collection. Accessed 26 Oct 2017.

Archives Unbound presents topically-focused digital collections of historical documents that support the research and study needs of students and academics. Collections cover a broad range of topics from the Middle Ages forward-from Witchcraft to the Second World War to 20th century political history and the collections are chosen for Archives Unbound based on requests from scholars, archivists, and students.


The database currently gives you access to 265 collections of original primary source material.
To find out more see Archives abound in Archives Unbound.

British Library Newspapers (parts 1-5)

The most comprehensive range of regional and local newspapers in Britain between the mid eighteenth and mid twentieth centuries ever made available in a digital collection, the collections within the British Library Newspapers series provide a range of publications to reflect the social, political and cultural events of the times.

Taken directly from the extensive holdings of the British Library, the more than 160 publications illuminate diverse and distinct regional attitudes, cultures, and vernaculars, providing an alternative viewpoint to the London-centric national press over a period of more than 200 years.

Related: Do we have access to the British Newspaper Archive?

The Economist Historical Archive (1843-2014)

The Economist newspaper was established in 1843 to campaign for free trade and freedom of the individual. It is generally regarded as one of the world’s pre-eminent weekly newspapers with an unrivalled reputation as a primary source of intelligent and reliable information through its consistently independent editorial perspective and intelligent analysis of weekly events. The Economist Historical Archive gives you access to the complete archive up to 2014.

Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO)

Screenshot from ECCO showing page from Brown, Edward. P. & c. Ed. Brown, shipmaster in Leith. Unto the Right Honourable the Lords of Council and Session, the petition and complaint of Edward Brown shipmaster in Leith, … N.p., [1786]. Accessed 23 Jan. 2017.

ECCO offers you access to the most comprehensive online library of 18th century book titles printed in the United Kingdom. This collection of eighteenth century books contains every significant English-language and foreign-language title printed in the United Kingdom between the years 1701 and 1800 – containing over 180,000 titles (200,000 volumes) and more than 32 million pages. While the majority of works in ECCO are in the English language, you will also discover a rich vein of works printed in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Latin, Spanish and Welsh.

The Making of Modern Law: Legal Treatises, 1800-1926

This databases is a comprehensive full-text collection of Anglo-American legal treatises and provides the resources necessary to trace the evolution of historical and contemporary legal study in the U.S. and Britain during these periods of monumental changes. The database features casebooks, local practice manuals, form books, works for lay readers, pamphlets, letters, speeches and other works from the most influential writers and key legal thinkers of the time.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online (NCCO): British Politics and Society

British Politics and Society includes tens of thousands of historical primary sources relating to the social and  political climate in Great Britain during the “long” nineteenth century, and consists of more than 1.7 million pages. The collections are sourced from a variety of institutions, including the British Library and The National Archives, Kew.

With this database you can research and explore a range of primary sources covering such topics as British domestic and foreign policy, the working class, trade unions, Chartism, Owenism, public protest, radical movements, the cartographic record, political reform, education, family relationships, religion, and leisure.

Nineteenth Century Collections Online: European Literature, 1790-1840: The Corvey Collection

This unique collection of monographs includes a wide range of Romantic literature published in English, French and German. Sourced from Castle Corvey  in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany, the Corvey Collection is one of the most important collections of works from the period in existence. The database allows you to research and explore a range of topics, including Romantic literary genres; mutual influences of British, French and German Romanticism; literary culture; women writers of the period; the canon and Romantic aesthetics.

State Papers Online, 1509-1714: Part II

The Tudors: Henry VIII to Elizabeth I, 1509 – 1603: State Papers Foreign, Ireland, Scotland, Borders and Registers of the Privy Council is the rather wordy title for Part II of State Papers Online. Part II opens up a window on the Tudor world beyond the borders of England, documenting Tudor England’s relations with its neighbours, both near and distant including those it sought to control (Scotland, Ireland and Wales), those it fought wars or maintained peace with in Europe (the Holy Roman Empire, Spain, France) and those it traded with (the Ottoman Empire, the Barbary coast and Russia).

The Times Digital Archive (1785-2012)

Partial screenshot of “Ladies At Football.” Times [London, England] 7 May 1920: 6. The Times Digital Archive. Accessed 27 July 2017.

The Times newspaper has offered readers in-depth and award-winning coverage of world events since its creation 1785 and is the oldest daily newspaper in continuous publication. The Times Digital Archive gives you access to more than 200 years of The Times and allows you an unparalleled opportunity to search and view the best-known and most cited newspaper in the world online in its original published context.

TLS Historical Archive (1902-2013)

Since 1902, the Times Literary Supplement (TLS) has forged a reputation for fine writing, literary discoveries and insightful debate. The TLS has attracted the contributions of the world’s most influential writers and critics, from T.S. Eliot and Virginia Woolf in the 1920s and 30s to A.N. Wilson and Christopher Hitchens in the 1990s and 2000s. The TLS Historical Archive contains every page of every copy of the TLS published from 1902-2013 and is a witness to the cultural revolutions of the last 100 years.

Update: The Library also now has access to the Daily Mail Historical Archive (1896-2004) and The Listener Historical Archive, 1929-1991 from Gale Cengage.

You can access all of these databases via the Primary Sources database list and/or the Newspapers & Magazines database list.
Access is only available to current students and members of staff at the University.

Adam Matthew and ProQuest will also be taking part in the Discovery Day on 30th January. See Spotlight on Adam Matthew digital primary sources and Spotlight on ProQuest digital primary sources. And look out soon for a similar post on the Centre for Research Collections.

Caroline Stirling – Academic Support Librarian for School of History, Classics and Archaeology

Updated: 23 July 2018